Thursday, July 29, 2010


There is a tale about an old trick used by some Africans to trap and capture wild monkeys. They take a large nut with hard shell. A hole is made in the shell, just sufficient in size to let a monkey put its hand through it, but not big enough to let it withdraw its folded fist from the nut, when it is full of grabbed food. They put into the nut foods with fine smell such as orange peels, peanuts or small fruits. The nut is fastened firmly to a heavy rock or large tree and the trap is left in a place where monkeys visit regularly. Attracted by the smell of the food, an approaching monkey may eagerly introduce its hand inside the nut and grab a fistful of the food.

As the hunters approach, the monkey tries its best to leave the nut but by instinct the monkey does not relax its grip on the food and so cannot escape from the trap. The frightened monkey may scream and try hard to pull out its hand but it tightens its grip as it lacks the sense to release its grasp. The monkey is then easily captured.

Like the monkey in this story, we hold on to several silly pleasures and sinful situations. We have to be ready to leave our attachment to worthless worldly pleasures and affinity to material objects to gain true freedom and gather greater goals. Our desires impede our freedom. We should detach ourselves from these tempting desires. Otherwise we become slaves of Satan and sin. When we clasp worldly interests we fail to open our hands to receive the bliss of heavenly happiness.

St. Ignatius Loyola used to repeat the following verse to St. Francis Xavier whenever they met in the campus of the University of Paris: “Will a person gain anything if he wins the whole world but loses his life?” {Matthew 16:26}. These words transformed St. Francis Xavier completely, gave him a new vision and mission and made him a great saint and missionary.

St. Paul teaches, “If you live according to your human nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your sinful actions, you will live” {Romans 8: 13}.

St. Paul declares, “But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ’s sake. Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord. For His sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere refuse, so that I may gain Christ and be completely united with Him”{Philippians 3: 7-9}.


©By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

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